TetrOS is a Tetris clone that’s also an operating system

Tetris has been an extremely popular game ever since it appeared on the Game Boy way back in 1989. Look at any generation of Nintendo hardware since then and chances are there’s been a Tetris game released for it. It’s also a game that’s been cloned countless times and forms a great project for anyone learning game development. Now, in 2016, Tetris has become its very own operating system.

TetrOS, as it is fittingly called, is a project developed by GitHub users daniel-e. It’s aTetris clone written in Assembly language that’s designed to fit completely within the 512 byte boot sector of a hard drive. The boot sector loads machine code into a computer’s main memory (RAM) as part of initial software loading, which typically begins with the operating system.

The boot sector may be 512 bytes, but Daniel had to fit TetrOS into a maximum allowed space of just 446 bytes. It’s an impressive feat, and one you can see running in the video below:

Daniel created TetrOS to execute during the boot sequence of a PC and in fact doesn’t require an operating system to work. TetrOS is an operating system in its own right.

The GitHub page explains how you can get TetrOS running using an emulator or from a USB stick or even on to the boot sector of your hard drive. I’d recommend the emulation root, though, unless you have a spare PC lying around doing nothing.

As for the game of Tetris, it doesn’t have scoring, an intro, increasing speed, a display of what the next brick is, or even a game over message. But you can play the game, and each generated brick has a unique color. If the play area fills up completely with bricks and another can’t be placed, then TetrOS comes to a halt. It’s the equivalent of a Blue Screen of Death I guess, only full of multicolored blocks.